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Sunday, February 9, 2014

Dancers bring life to the every day

 "Dancers have the ability to make the ordinary extraordinary." 

Flipping through the pages of a photo book I received for Christmas, I was intrigued by the stunning images and the portrayal of dancers in public spaces.  The photos in the book, entitled Dancers Among Us, make time stand still and not only remind me to celebrate the joy in the every day (the main idea behind the book), but how incredible and transformative dancers really are.

Manhattan-based photographer Jordan Matter is the man behind this visually-stunning book featuring professional dancers photographed in ordinary moments taking place in subways, restaurants, libraries, city streets, construction sites, parks, and just about any other place he set his eye on. Shooting for 2 years in New York City, this acclaimed-photographer later went across the rest of the country to capture incredible moments of dancers showing us what it means to grieve, dream, live and love.

Where did Jordan's inspiration come from for this book? It came while watching his son joyfully playing with a toy bus.  It was at that moment while his son delved deeper and deeper into his imagination that he realized he had lost that magic and fantasy in his own life (sound familiar?). Through the eyes of his son, the photographs remind us to pause and appreciate the small things and to always indulge in the beauty in the world around us.

Watching a dance performance by the Paul Taylor Dance Company sealed his decision to use dancers as his muses for this project stating that, "Dancers have the ability to make the ordinary extraordinary.  Dancers can make almost everything beautiful." 

Dancers flocked from hundreds of miles away to shoot with Jordan, responding instantly to his social media ads once he landed in a new city.  When asked what are some of the similar qualities he found in dancers, he responded, "Dancers are perfectionists, willing to try, try, and try again." When deciding which dancers to shoot, he always looked for enthusiasm, collaboration, and readiness for an adventure.

Taking a serendipitous approach to the creative process, the locations were often planned but what happened at each shoot  was mostly spontaneous and based on the versatile skills of the subject(s). From dangerous to thrilling to surprising moments, he claims, "I never really knew what I was doing until I was doing it." For many, this may not exactly be a recipe for success but in Matter's case, this approach is clearly working for him.

Take a look at Jordan and the dancers in action here: 


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